Bad Wolf and I were driving along yesterday and the topic of Memorial Day came up.
“Tell me about it – why is it a holiday?” she asked.
“Well, it is to honor people who have fought for our country.” I volunteered.
“Yeah, I know that but is it for other people too, you know non-military people?”
“Uh… yeah… well I suppose it could be – sure.”
“So how did it start?” she asked.
“How did it begin?”
“…” I said. “You know what – I think that we’re going to check the internet when we get home; we’ll both learn all about it.”
And that is almost exactly what we did. (We really got frustrated trying to get our cell phones to play MP3s through our headphones, grilled some steaks and had a bonfire with the family; BUT we still had it in the back of our minds… Really.) Enter this blog.
As with many things that I’m fuzzy on I consulted my favorite second brain, Wikipedia about all things Memorial Day. You can check it for yourself here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_day too. Here’s a snippet Gentle Reader, “Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (in 2008 on May 26). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, after World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to include casualties of any war or military action.
Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. US Eastern time. Another tradition is to fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers usually place an American flag upon each grave site located in a National Cemetary.
In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting events. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. Some Americans also view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer and Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season. The national "Click It or Ticket" campaign ramps up beginning Memorial Day weekend, noting the beginning of the most dangerous season for auto accidents and other safety related incidents. The U.S. Air Force’s "101 Critical Days of Summer" begin on this day as well. Many Americans use Memorial Day to also honor any family members who have died, not just servicemen…”
So there you have it. Thank a Vet this weekend. These people put everything on the line to defend everything that we have a tendency to take for granted. End of sermon. Enjoy any and all BBQs that you visit and beware of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.
Happy Memorial Day